I Mana I Ka Wai: DHHL Water Law & Advocacy Trainings
On Wednesday, July 17th, the final I Mana I Ka Wai Training was held at the Pāhala Community Center in Kaʻū on Hawaiʻi Island. The training marked the completion of ten trainings held statewide in partnership with the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (“DHHL”). At each training, community members received information about the specific laws that protect DHHL water rights, traditional and customary Native Hawaiian practices, and other public trust purposes. This partnership between DHHL and Ka Huli Ao aims to deepen the Native Hawaiian community’s collective knowledge so we may be empowered by our fresh water resources.
In Pāhala, more than 35 community members gathered to learn about water law and advocacy. Professor Kapua Sproat and Post-JD Fellow Tereariʻi Chandler-ʻĪao introduced the relevant legal and cultural frameworks. Dr. Jonathan Likeke Scheuer provided an update on DHHL’s water policy, and John Cross, Land Manager for Ed Olson Trust, gave an overview of the area’s water resources. At the end of the workshop, Ian Hirokawa and Tereariʻi Chandler-ʻĪao provided an overview of the State’s process for the issuance of water leases. Under HRS § 171-58(g), DHHL must be consulted prior to the renewal or issuance of any water lease, and DHHL and DLNR “shall jointly develop a reservation of water rights sufficient to support current and future homestead needs.” The session offered information about opportunities for community engagement in the Department of Land and Natural Resource’s (“DLNR’s”) water leasing process in Ka‘ū.